Thursday, 4 July 2013

3 Peaks By Bike - Day 1

Bruce, Jo, Rich and me ready for the off ...
The forecast was spot on. Rain. And wind. And plenty of it. Bugger.

I've been up Snowdon in worse conditions but this wasn't a nice way to start the challenge. Personally I found it quite exhilarating but Jo admitted to hating it. The rain was heavy and persistant and the wind was particularly strong near the summit. I'd estimate around 50+mph. Enough to make you really concentrate hard on your footing anyway! Suffice to say that views from the point at which the Miners track kicked up to join the Pyg track were non-existent.  The following pics from Bruce will give you an idea of that. When we got there the summit was deserted. Unusual!
Snowdon penny post
Lovely views!
Not a busy day at the summit of Snowdon
Getting wet on the way down
The weather eased on the way down and the last (flatter) part of the miners track was a gentle stroll back to Pen-y-pass in nothing more than a stiff breeze.

After a quick change and stuffing some food down we were on the bikes at shortly after mid-day. Slightly later than I'd hoped but hey-ho. I forgot my bike pump but only realised at the bottom of the Llanberris pass and couldn't be arsed to ride back up for it. I simply hoped that the p*nct*re fairy was on a day off.
Just 100 miles to go today
The ride itself was a doddle. Mostly tailwind and plenty of downhill/flat with no serious uphill gradients. I'd worried that the A5 would be busy but no, it was relatively quiet and a surface as smooth as glass. Lovely.

It got a bit interesting after crossing the river Dee at Queensferry and trying to work out how to avoid the busy A41 dual carriageway towards Birkenhead (you couldn't for much of it) and how best to cross the Mersey. Original plan was to enjoy the ferry but that would have entailed a 1-1.5 hr wait so we got the train from Hamilton Square.

Nice skyline but no ferry
It was quicker and MUCH cheaper anyway. Was a bit worried about navigating through Liverpool but Bruce did a top job of getting us through the with his Garmin gizmo. I know Liverpool has some impressive parts but we managed to miss those and pedalled through some depressingly, Godawful shit areas. All cities have them I suppose.

After the drudgery of Liverpool the roads became a bit more interesting (and hilly) as we progressed towards the campsite near Chorley.  And then, shortly before arrival, the rain came again. Very heavily! I was mightily impressed (and very grateful) that Cath, who is not a seasoned camper, had managed to singlehandedly erect our tent in such foul conditions. I suspect it involved some swearing.

Chilli and rice cooked on the stove, a beer and a tot (or 3) of whisky and it was soon gone 11pm and time to try and get some Z's. I didn't feel particularly tired, even though it had been a long day, but was soon asleep. It didn't last long. Rain and an increasingly strong NW wind woke me regularly as I worried about progress on the following day ...

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